4 years, 8 months ago
From Katha Pollitt at The Nation:
In the absence of leadership at the national level, big-city police chiefs and mayors like Michael Bloomberg have tried to step into the breach. But with little support from the top and lacking an impassioned mass movement, to say nothing of money to combat the NRA’s huge war chest, it’s no wonder that gun control has shriveled into a Worthy Cause. According to Gallup, in 2011 only 26 percent of Americans favored a ban on handguns, down from a high of 60 percent way back in the dark ages of 1959. (Other polls show the country evenly divided but still unchanged by the recent mass murders.) Membership in the NRA has been increasing for decades and now stands at 4.3 million. As for the 30,000 annual gun deaths, 70,000 injuries and almost twenty mass murders a year? The ninety guns for every 100 Americans? It’s something to wring your hands about, like sexting or obesity or plastic bags. Just another weird American thing.
Why is this? One reason is surely that guns have effectively become the emblem of the ongoing great white male right-wing freak-out. (Ladies might pack a pink pistol, but not an AK-47.) When Obama was elected, gun sales rose—quick, the Kenyan Muslim Communist is coming for our weapons! On NPR’s Diane Rehm Show, John Velleco of Gun Owners of America seemed comfortable with the idea that someone might want an arsenal of assault weapons to protect his family from a home invasion. What home invasion would that be? And among the many foolish justifications for amassing high-powered weaponry is the delusion that you and your friends could outgun the government if you personally decided it had become a tyranny. That’s almost as ridiculous as the notion that if everyone carried a gun, people would be safer. All those moviegoers in Aurora needed to make their misery complete was to have a bunch of armed freelancers shooting off their weapons in a dark theater.
Note the common misconception. The NRA is depicted as some evil, amorphous blob bent on ruling the world, instead of an organization that gets it power and authority from its membership and fees, all voluntary. As for home invasion, perhaps Katha could have read my article Do We Have A Constitutional Right To Own An AR? In it I document three, four and five man home invasions across the country, big city and small, in a single day of searching for news reports. As for a bunch of “armed freelancers” shooting off their weapons, maybe she is mistakenly referring to the incident where the New York Police Department fired off 84 rounds at a single shooter, missing with 70.
But of course, the most troublesome notion is that guns are an emblem of the great white male right-wing freak-out. A pink pistol? I can’t think of a single weapon I own of which Katha would approve. But she does get points for the most ridiculous, outlandish, absurd, accusatory, churlish, exaggerated hyperbole of the day. Such behavior seems to be emblematic of the great East coast, white, left wing superiority complex.